The photo of Stephen Baum and me aged 4
falls out of the back of a book. Each of us
is holding a part of a redundant
Kodak Brownie and laughing in ecstasy.
The battered camera is Stephen’s.
The sun is shining, and we are on the lawn
in front of the flats where we lived. It was spring
or summer ’47. Our mothers
would take us to the entrance of the yard
of the dairy on Child’s Hill so we could watch
the horses and hear the waters rushing
through wooden slats, washing the bottles,
and Golders Hill Park where the sticklebacks were,
and the Heath with its ack-ack emplacements.
The snap would have been taken by my mother
or his. The Baums moved to a semi
in Temple Fortune. My mother and me
moved north. I bought the book much later:
a second hand edition of Arthur Mee’s
‘London – Heart of the Empire and Wonder
of the World’, thickened with age and damp,
in which a child had written in pencil,
on the last page, ‘THE END’.